The Benefits of Nature and a Comparison to Pipesmoking

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lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
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A few weeks ago, I came across a statement on social media about a book published several decades ago regarding the theory that humans cannot adequately cope with a high rate of ongoing technological and social change, and that the high rate of change over time induces stress often to the point of psychological disorder. At the time, I thought, "well that's an interesting idea, probably with some truth to it." However, rather than being a passing thought, the concept has stuck in my mind over the past weeks, and it seems especially applicable right now.

I grew up in a rural area, and about five years ago, after spending the better part of a decade in a large metropolis, I left the city to move back home. Needless to say, those of us who prefer rural settings tend to spend a lot of time outdoors. I've been considering what it would be like to still live in the city right now, completely cut off from nature without spending several hours just to drive past the sprawling metropolitan area and get out to a location that's more green than gray. Over the past months, throughout the corona virus scare and the social unrest, I have been particularly thankful for my surroundings. It's a well-understood concept that that immersing yourself in nature tends to have a centering and calming effect, and in my recent experience I've noticed that as the tension in society has increased, so too has the calming effect of being in nature. There is a great benefit conferred upon a person who immerses himself in nature in that he can realize and experience first hand that much of the world goes on more-or-less immune to whims of social and political forces. Needless to say, that feeling can provide a great relief, especially in a time of rapidly escalating tensions such as those we are dealing with now.

Like nature, pipe smoking has been a consistent form of relaxation and enjoyment, and lighting up a pipe of some fine blend or another that's good enough to enjoy like a fine wine or a scotch helps to take my mind off current sources of stress in a similar manner to paddling my canoe down a stream. Of course the centering power of the pipe is not nearly so strong as the centering power of immersing oneself in nature, but it's almost like a lesser version of the same experience. Much like the (apparently) unchanging natural landscape, pipe smoking goes back centuries in time, and there is some connection to those earlier periods, almost like a small type of eternity in smoking a pipe.

Anyhow, I understand that the stretch from nature to pipes is a bit tenuous, but both have provided a warming consistency during periods of turbulence, and I appreciate them both for their calming and centering effect.
 
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Richmond B. Funkenhouser

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Dec 6, 2019
2,181
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Al/Ga
Yes Sir, I very much appreciate my rural surroundings. I've always felt that a good fishing trip can ward off anxiety and stress. You're right to lump smoking in, there's just something naturally relaxing about making a fire and enjoying it.. whether that's a wood fire in the fireplace, or a pipe full of a good tobacco.
 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,369
2,209
Yes Sir, I very much appreciate my rural surroundings. I've always felt that a good fishing trip can ward off anxiety and stress. You're right to lump smoking in, there's just something naturally relaxing about making a fire and enjoying it.. whether that's a wood fire in the fireplace, or a pipe full of a good tobacco.
Agreed on the fire... I'm scarcely a handyman, but I installed a wood stove (and chimney) myself in my living room so I can heat my house with wood in the winter. It's not my main heat source, but often times on the weekends during the cold months I keep it burning enough that my furnace does not kick on between Friday evening and Monday morning. There is a certain cozy feeling of independence that goes along with knowing that I can heat my house for months with just the stack of wood in my back yard.
 

hoosierpipeguy

Preferred Member
Jan 28, 2018
3,889
7,090
I kind of have the best of both worlds. Live in a small/medium City 45 minutes from downtown Indianapolis but with cornfields no more than a mile or two away. I grew up very rural and if I had choose, I'd take out in the sticks in a heartbeat over a metropolitan home. I abhor the traffic, crowds and noise.
 

Casual

Preferred Member
Oct 3, 2019
1,386
4,289
NL, CA
I spent almost 20 years in farm country. Then 20 years in our largest city. Now I’ve been back in a small town for ten, this time to raise children.

There’s no comparison for your health, rural wins hands down. But my pocketbook appreciates those twenty years in the city.
 

Gecko

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2019
326
632
Sweden
A few weeks ago, I came across a statement on social media about a book published several decades ago regarding the theory that humans cannot adequately cope with a high rate of ongoing technological and social change, and that the high rate of change over time induces stress often to the point of psychological disorder. At the time, I thought, "well that's an interesting idea, probably with some truth to it." However, rather than being a passing thought, the concept has stuck in my mind over the past weeks, and it seems especially applicable right now.

I grew up in a rural area, and about five years ago, after spending the better part of a decade in a large metropolis, I left the city to move back home. Needless to say, those of us who prefer rural settings tend to spend a lot of time outdoors. I've been considering what it would be like to still live in the city right now, completely cut off from nature without spending several hours just to drive past the sprawling metropolitan area and get out to a location that's more green than gray. Over the past months, throughout the corona virus scare and the social unrest, I have been particularly thankful for my surroundings. It's a well-understood concept that that immersing yourself in nature tends to have a centering and calming effect, and in my recent experience I've noticed that as the tension in society has increased, so too has the calming effect of being in nature. There is a great benefit conferred upon a person who immerses himself in nature in that he can realize and experience first hand that much of the world goes on more-or-less immune to whims of social and political forces. Needless to say, that feeling can provide a great relief, especially in a time of rapidly escalating tensions such as those we are dealing with now.

Like nature, pipe smoking has been a consistent form of relaxation and enjoyment, and lighting up a pipe of some fine blend or another that's good enough to enjoy like a fine wine or a scotch helps to take my mind off current sources of stress in a similar manner to paddling my canoe down a stream. Of course the centering power of the pipe is not nearly so strong as the centering power of immersing oneself in nature, but it's almost like a lesser version of the same experience. Much like the (apparently) unchanging natural landscape, pipe smoking goes back centuries in time, and there is some connection to those earlier periods, almost like a small type of eternity in smoking a pipe.

Anyhow, I understand that the stretch from nature to pipes is a bit tenuous, but both have provided a warming consistency during periods of turbulence, and I appreciate them both for their calming and centering effect.
Yes, I love the outdoors/wilderness and the feeling of serenity and focus it gives you. I agree that the mindfull smoking of a pipe is a lightweight version of the same relaxation. And I would also add working and creating with your hands (when not on any deadline) as an activity that may have similar relaxing qualities.
 

cigrmaster

Preferred Member
May 26, 2012
15,532
15,018
United States
I live in a development that is much like a country club. We have tennis courts, community heated pool, full court basketball with lights, lakes, gym. Maintenance free, don't have to cut a lawn or trim a tree. I love the place. It is in Sarasota FL, it is always warm, I have a great lanai to keep the bugs away.

I grew up in Boston, it was noisy, trolley cars are noisy, traffic sucks, but when you are young it is a blast. I wouldn't live there now but growing up there I would have missed all that action. Plus the food is so much better there than here, food sucks in Sarasota compared to Boston.
 

jpberg

Preferred Member
Aug 30, 2011
1,290
1,167
I live as far upstate in New York as you can go. However, I spend a lot of time in NYC. I get invigorated going to the city, and leaving.
So much vibrancy in New York, so much to absorb.
So quiet at home, so peaceful, so green.
If I had to choose one, it would be my green valley, but seeing both regularly is a privilege.
Edited to add - It takes work to enjoy a pipe in New York, that’s a significant negative.
 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,369
2,209
Yes, I love the outdoors/wilderness and the feeling of serenity and focus it gives you. I agree that the mindfull smoking of a pipe is a lightweight version of the same relaxation. And I would also add working and creating with your hands (when not on any deadline) as an activity that may have similar relaxing qualities.
Agreed about working with your hands. I work hard enough at my office (still gonna be here for a while, probably because I've been burning too much time on the forum today :LOL: ) that I do not generally look forward to doing such things (working in my yard, splitting firewood, etc) but find that I actually do enjoy them and get in the moment once I get moving on those types of tasks. If I were wealthy or retired, I would definitely take up a "work with your hands" hobby, probably one that would involve restoration, as I like fixing and repairing things rather than replacing them when feasible.

I live in a development that is much like a country club. We have tennis courts, community heated pool, full court basketball with lights, lakes, gym. Maintenance free, don't have to cut a lawn or trim a tree. I love the place. It is in Sarasota FL, it is always warm, I have a great lanai to keep the bugs away.

I grew up in Boston, it was noisy, trolley cars are noisy, traffic sucks, but when you are young it is a blast. I wouldn't live there now but growing up there I would have missed all that action. Plus the food is so much better there than here, food sucks in Sarasota compared to Boston.
Likewise, I didn't appreciate my rural area when I was a teenager. Thought it was boring.

My mom had a place in Florida much like yours until they moved back home a couple years ago. Had a screened in lanai with a beautiful tiled in-ground pool. No neighbors behind their house, as it backed up to a preserved wetland. It was a great place to visit, especially around the holidays when it was cold up here. I used to shoot the shit with my stepdad on the lanai while smoking pipes - he was in fact my into to pipe smoking, though he's since given up smoking altogether. I miss visiting them there, though on balance of course I'm happy they're close by now. Still miss the tropical weather and in-ground pool though puffy
 

cshubhra

Preferred Member
May 11, 2017
4,380
24,206
I will go contrarian ...

Most of my life I lived in a big city (Or similar). Then 5 years ago I moved to the suburbs

When I first moved I really liked (and still do) the peace and quiet. It is really nice to smoke a bowl at the backyard contemplating various stuff.

But I do miss the big city and it’s hustle bustle. I miss when everything I need is available within a short walking distance. I miss the amazing cuisine choices. I miss people watching just outside or a few mins away. I don’t like the fact that I need to drive to anything and everything I need. I don’t do yard work.

On the other hand, I am really thankful that I live in the suburbs during the lockdown. I can take walk in the backyard or in the streets (If I so desire). Lockdown in the city would have tested my sanity.
 

dochowl

New member
Jul 30, 2020
8
14
Great post @lawdawg. Can't agree more. Been in Los Angeles forever, but setting my plan on moving to Southern Oregon in the next few (3 to 7) years. We've been going up there for the last 25 years or so and have had property there until a few years back. I really miss the quiet, the river, the smell of trees, and the simplicity. Nothing like sitting on the deck or by the firepit, enjoying a pipe and some good company.IMG_20200615_101707.jpg
 

lawdawg

Preferred Member
Aug 25, 2016
1,369
2,209
The book you're referring to is likely Future Shock by Alvin Toffler. It was a big hit in the 70's.
Yes, that's it. Thank you for that. I was considering reading the book, but could not recall the title or who wrote it.

I will go contrarian ...

Most of my life I lived in a big city (Or similar). Then 5 years ago I moved to the suburbs

When I first moved I really liked (and still do) the peace and quiet. It is really nice to smoke a bowl at the backyard contemplating various stuff.

But I do miss the big city and it’s hustle bustle. I miss when everything I need is available within a short walking distance. I miss the amazing cuisine choices. I miss people watching just outside or a few mins away. I don’t like the fact that I need to drive to anything and everything I need. I don’t do yard work.

On the other hand, I am really thankful that I live in the suburbs during the lockdown. I can take walk in the backyard or in the streets (If I so desire). Lockdown in the city would have tested my sanity.
Of course it takes all kinds, and some will prefer the city. Even so, I'm astounded at how many people mention "food" and "restaurants" in defense of urbanism! It's such a small thing, and we also have good restaurants in rural areas as well. Hell, my town of a few thousand people (which is the biggest town in our county) has a great hibachi place, a very good upscale Italian restaurant, a decent taco joint, an excellent coffee shop with locally-roasted coffee, and a couple of casual gastropub type places with "greasy spoon" food. These are all one-of-a-kind, locally-owned restaurants, not Applebees, Starbucks, or Olive Garden (though we've got a couple of those as well). We don't have as wide a selection of restaurants course, but it just seems like a very small issue as far as quality of life goes.

I'll also add that I agree with you about suburbs... I'd rather live in the city proper than in the 'burbs. Really not into sprawling strip malls and tract housing. Small town and rural live is a lot different than suburban living.
 
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anotherbob

Preferred Member
Yes, that's it. Thank you for that. I was considering reading the book, but could not recall the title or who wrote it.



Of course it takes all kinds, and some will prefer the city. Even so, I'm astounded at how many people mention "food" and "restaurants" in defense of urbanism! It's such a small thing, and we also have good restaurants in rural areas as well. Hell, my town of a few thousand people (which is the biggest town in our county) has a great hibachi place, a very good upscale Italian restaurant, a decent taco joint, an excellent coffee shop with locally-roasted coffee, and a couple of casual gastropub type places with "greasy spoon" food. These are all one-of-a-kind, locally-owned restaurants, not Applebees, Starbucks, or Olive Garden (though we've got a couple of those as well). We don't have as wide a selection of restaurants course, but it just seems like a very small issue as far as quality of life goes.

I'll also add that I agree with you about suburbs... I'd rather live in the city proper than in the 'burbs. Really not into sprawling strip malls and tract housing. Small town and rural live is a lot different than suburban living.
yeah food is a big thing. It's amazing how easy it is to get bored with small town food. If you thrive on new culinary experiences it's not long before you have to wait for something new to open up. Where in a city you just have to pick a new street to walk down. Another funny pro fact (not funny ha ha, but interesting) is city people tend to live longer for one really super important reason. Proximity to emergency services. You have a stroke or heart attack or even slip and have something sharp go through the wrong part of you a few extra minutes of waiting can be a big difference in if you live or not. And the access to those services tends to be much better in cities. Another very similar example is police response which can be terrible in rural areas just because you have less officers working a greater geographic area. the idea of the police having trouble finding your address in a timely manner is way more likely. Ideally I'd like to live in the middle of nowhere and have access to a big city.
 

Gecko

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2019
326
632
Sweden
This most excellent thread got met to thinking.

If one were live in the USA and wanted rural living with all the qualities discussed in this thread. Close to great nature, mountains, canoing, hiking, cross country skiing (national parks?) The serenity of open views. Perhaps with a few acres of your own land. But still with acces to decent hospital and decent schools. Where would that be?

Being a Scandinavian I don't really know much about American geography or living conditions but I'm thinking maybe Montana?
 
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alaskanpiper

Preferred Member
May 23, 2019
5,903
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Alaska
This most excellent thread got met to thinking.

If one were live in the USA and wanted rural living with all the qualities discussed in this thread. Close to great nature, mountains, canoing, hiking, cross country skiing (national parks?) The serenity of open views. Perhaps with a few acres of your own land. But still with acces to decent hospital and decent schools. Where would that be?

Being a Scandinavian I don't really know much about American geography or living conditions but I'm thinking maybe Montana?
Alaska
 
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